Mar. 17, 2017

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Weekly Roundup
#Listrak\DateStampLong# The latest news from the State Capitol

Improving PA’s Unfriendly Adoption Policies

 
To help place children in loving homes, the House this week passed eight bills to improve the adoption process in Pennsylvania.

The bipartisan package would improve the state’s unfriendly adoption policies to help ensure that all parties – birth parents, adoptive parents and children – can benefit from a smoother process.

The cornerstone bill in the package would shorten the period in which a birth parent can revoke his or her consent to an adoption from 30 days to 14. This window of time would start after consent for adoption has been given, not from the time the child is born.

Other bills would ensure that birth parents have access to adoption-related counseling services; streamline and expedite the procedures for terminating parental rights; allow adoptive families to appeal the amount of an adoption subsidy; make it easier for parents who are incarcerated to relinquish their parental rights by allowing correctional staff to witness the individual’s consent to adoption; eliminate the hearing currently required to confirm a consent to adoption; refine the definition of “intermediary” to include a licensed attorney or social worker; and add reasonable living expenses incurred by a birth mother to the list of permissible reimbursable expenses paid by a prospective adoptive family during the course of the adoption process.

All of the bills now go to the Senate for consideration.
 
 
Thanks For Keeping Us Safe

As we continue to dig out from this week's snowstorm, I would like to express my thanks to PennDOT and municipal personnel who are working extended shifts to keep us safe. They have responded swiftly and I am thankful for their efforts.
 
 
Concealed Carry Seminar Set for April 20

 
To familiarize area residents about their responsibilities as gun owners, Rep. Tina Pickett and I will host a concealed carry seminar at the Hop Bottom Fire Hall on Thursday, April 20. The seminar will be held from 6-8 p.m., with doors opening at 5:30 p.m. Susquehanna County District Attorney Robert Klein and Sheriff Lance Benedict will share their expertise and answer questions from area residents about state firearms laws.

These seminars have been quite popular in our area, as they have not only familiarized our local gun owners with state firearms laws, but they have included information about the Castle Doctrine and how that law is applied in cases of self-defense. Since our area is so close to the New York border, many questions have been answered regarding residents’ ability to cross state lines with their firearms.
In addition to an overview of the state’s firearms laws, the seminar will include information on how to safely interact with police when carrying a firearm, as well as the legal aspects of Pennsylvania’s Castle Doctrine, which allows a homeowner to use deadly force if necessary when threatened by an armed intruder.

Registration is required for this event and can be made by clicking here or call my Montrose office at 570-278-3374. Seating is limited. Light refreshments will be served.
 
 
Boy Scouts Visit Capitol

It was my pleasure to welcome Boy Scout Troop 251 from Clarks Green to the Capitol on Monday.
 
 
Expanding Educational Choice

 
Two popular tax credit programs that have allowed thousands of families across Pennsylvania to choose the best education for their children would be expanded under legislation which passed the House on Monday.

House Bill 250 would increase the amount of tax credits available under both the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and the Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit (OSTC) programs. Funds available for EITC would increase by $50 million to a record $175 million and funds available for the OSTC would increase by $25 million to $75 million.

The EITC program provides businesses with tax credits in exchange for their voluntary contributions to organizations that fund various educational opportunities including scholarships and innovative programming. The OSTC program provides businesses with tax credits in exchange for their contributions to organizations that provide scholarships to students who live within the attendance boundary of a low-achieving public school.

The legislation now goes to the Senate for consideration.
 
 
Giving Families Work Choices

 
The House Human Services Committee held a hearing this week to clear up confusion and questions regarding an initial proposal by the Department of Human Services (DHS) that would force individuals with disabilities to spend time in the community, thereby reducing their ability to participate in day programs and sheltered workshops under the department’s Office of Developmental Programs.

At issue is the way in which DHS is changing its administration of its home- and community-based waivers. The initial proposal would have required individuals to spend 75 percent of their time in the community, rather than being at day programs or sheltered workshops. This requirement left the heads of those organizations wondering how they would continue to operate if individuals can only participate essentially one day out of five.

A compromise proposal between DHS and the General Assembly would make it possible for each person to participate in the community, but leave the decision with the individual. This proposal still awaits finalization.

To watch the hearing, visit this website and click on the March 13 date
   
 
Love Your Dog? License Your Dog

 
With March designated as License Your Dog Month, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture reminds pet owners they must license their dogs ages 3 months and older. Failure can result in a maximum fine of $300 per violation, plus court costs.

An annual license is $8.50, and a lifetime license is $51.50. If the animal is spayed or neutered, the annual fee is $6.50, and lifetime fee is $31.50. Discounts are available to older adults and people with disabilities. Dog licenses are available from your local county treasurer and other licensing agents.

If your dog gets lost, a current license is the fastest way to get it back.

The small license fee helps the millions of dogs in the state by funding the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture Bureau of Dog Law Enforcement.

For more information, click here to watch a short video or visit this website
 
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Office Locations
16501 State Route 706, Suite 2, Montrose, PA 18801 | Phone: 570-278-3374 
32 Commercial Street, Suite 300, Honesdale, PA 18431 | 570-253-5533
414 Irvis Office, PO Box 202111, Harrisburg, PA 17120-2111
Email Address: JFritz@pahousegop.com
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